First Published: The Forge Vol. 5, No. 34, October 3, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Despite Prime Minister Trudeau’s attempts to defend his recent constitutional proposal as an important step forward for the rights of Canadians, in fact this project does nothing to defend democratic and national rights.
Rather Trudeau’s proposal legitimizes the same national inequality and lack of working people’s rights on which this country was established. At the same time the unilateral action of the Liberal government denies all real possibility of free debate and participation by the people in the elaboration of a now constitution.
This is why the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers Communist Party urges Canadian working people to oppose this constitutional project and to fight for a constitution which will uphold the rights of working people and oppressed nationalities.
As much as we are against Trudeau’s constitutional proposal, which can only serve the interests of the capitalist class and in particular the central Canadian monopolist groups, or opposition has nothing to do with the opposition of the NDP, the Conservatives or of the provincial premiers.
The federal NDP has basically approved the project but has raised the demand for more provincial control over resources. In doing this the NDP has abandoned all pretense of defending workers rights or those of the nationalities, of which it makes no mention. It is kowtowing to the Liberal party while trying to maintain its base among sections of the Western-based capitalists.
The opposition of Joe Clark and the provincial premiers is based on the reactionary total or almost total rejection of any bill of rights. They have no intention of defending the people’s rights. Their main aim in opposing the project is to get more power for the provinces and regional-based sectors of the ruling class.
At the same time, we cannot accept the views of Quebec’s Premier Levesque that linguistic and educational rights should not be included in a central constitution because they fall under provincial jurisdiction. This is tantamount to saying that basic national rights should not be included in a constitution... This would result in the denial of even the most minimal rights to Canada’s oppressed nationalities.
The WCP stands for a new constitution for Canada which would include:
The WCP rejects the unilateral action of the Liberal Party in elaborating a new constitutional proposal. We call for a full and democratic debate which would allow the full participation of oppressed nationalities and the working class. We call for common actions between working class and national organizations, which will fight for the inclusion of our basic rights in a new constitution. We call for all progressive and national organizations to elaborate their positions and state their demands.
The only road forward for the working class and the oppressed nationalities is to reject the solutions of different sectors of the capitalist class, whether it be Trudeau or the provincial premiers. Only action independent of the capitalist politicians can assure us victory.
A victory on the constitutional front in a capitalist Canada would be an Important step forward for the working class. But it would only be a partial victory. Only with power in the hands of the working class in a socialist Canada could we assure a constitution that would guarantee democratic and national rights.
Today the battle has begun to bring about the rejection of the Trudeau constitution. The WCP pledges itself to participate to the best of its ability to advance this cause.
Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers Communist Party